Joe’s military history as a veteran began on February 9, 1959 when he began his first enlistment with the United States Naval Reserve. After serving on two ships, Joe decided not to reenlist and transferred to the US Air Force. This move cost Joe his Petty Officer promotion at a time when promotions were hard to get.
In 1966, Joe returned to the U. S. Navy and was promoted to Construction Electrician Second Class (CET2). Petty Officer Parker was immediately assigned to a Seabee Battalion with orders to Vietnam. Joe served two combat tours in Vietnam and received a field promotion to Petty Officer First Class, CE1 and other combat and personal decorations before leaving the Seabee Battalion with orders to Morocco, North Africa for two years.
While serving with the U. S. Naval Security Group (NAVSECGRU) Joe was selected for Nuclear Power training with the Naval Nuclear Power Unit at Fort Belvoir, VA. Following his two years of school with the NNPU, Joe was ordered to a four-year tour of duty at the second largest Power Plant in the U.S. Navy, at Naval Station, Rota, Spain. Joe was within three (3) months of completing his orders when his time in Vietnam caught up with him. Joe was sent via Medevac to the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, MD. After two years and two major surgeries, Joe was released to full duty with another Seabee Battalion deployed to Europe.
Following the first deployment with the battalion, Joe was assigned to “Special Projects” with the 20th Naval Construction Regiment in Gulfport, MS. This also required special training in “project Management”. When Joe’s Battalion returned to Gulfport, Joe was tasked with training a group of Officers and senior enlisted personnel in the use of computers for construction project management.
Upon completion of the training assignments, Joe returned to the Regiment to work on the special projects task force that included the construction of Naval Facilities for the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) Diego Garcia.
Reaching a near completion of his assignment, Joe reenlisted for orders to Naval Air Station Bermuda for a relaxing twilight tour, with his family, before retirement. Joe was assigned to the Safety Office and as the only American to have a seat on the Bermuda Road Safety Council. After the first year, Joe was once again awarded for his performance and was selected as the first name on the Navy wide Chief Petty Officer Promotion list.
After receiving his promotion to Chief Petty Officer (CEC), Joe was obligated for another three years. He had a choice of orders and returned to Gulfport, MS as the Safety Chief for the 20th Naval Construction Regiment. Joe was responsible for the Construction Safety Programs for five Seabee Battalions.
When he had completed his three-year obligation, Joe, with twenty-six years of active service, was formally piped ashore and transferred to the Fleet Reserve for retirement after completing 30 years of service.
Joe continued after retirement from the U. S. Navy, as a Chief Instructor with the Texas Department of Public Safety for three years followed by twelve years with the U. S. Department of Labor as a Senior Compliance Officer and Investigator. Joe voluntarily took a Disability Retirement from DOL after losing his eye sight from the development of Diabetic Retinopathy that resulted from an acute exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam.